Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here We Go Again...

Let's take a walk down memory lane....the year is 1994 and a mid-size national firm (1,200 PC's) has a new software manager who realizes that the firm needs to be buying their software on a volume license, so she starts down the path of finding out everything she needs to know to make this happen.

Since there's no one she can find who can educate her on this, she turns to her reseller...who invests a lot of time and energy into educating her. Finally, time comes to seal the deal and another reseller walks in the door and tells her a few more things that the first reseller didn't tell her....things that would have a strong impact on the financial viability of the purchase.

Time passes, this software manager continues to learn and comes to realize that there were even more things she should have been told that neither reseller told her...that money was lost on the deal because she hadn't known them when the deal was made. Unfortunately, there hadn't been anyone to advise her that didn't have a vested interest in the deal.

Fast forward to 2008, that software manager (and yes...that was me) would no longer have to rely on the advice of a reseller...there are instead a number of small Software Asset Management (SAM) consulting firms that would appropriately advise her on all important aspects of the deal - helping her make the right choice and the best deal for her business.

However; we have to be careful that this valuable source of independent information remains available to consumers.

Most major resellers are now starting up SAM consulting businesses in response to publisher requirements. Here's the problem with that...since consulting isn't the primary business line a reseller can price their consulting services at a price that an independent firm can't compete with...and the next thing you know, the only source of information for you on that major purchase is someone who has a vested interest in the outcome...

Are we coming full circle? I hope not - the reason I started my firm in 1999 was because I saw a need for companies to have someone on their side of the deal....whether it's me or another small SAM firm, I don't want companies to lose that independent perspective.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

usedtowander said...

Most clients simply don't know what they don't know when they are starting down a path towards any process - SAM or anything else. The result is poor planning and expectation setting. According to Gartner 40% of companies implementing ERP found that the actual time and money spent on achieving what they originally defined as “successful” exceeded the original estimate by over 50%. IT Asset and Service Management implementation fail at a similar rate.

There is no shame in this lack of knowledge, as Will Rogers said, "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

Because of this lack of knowledge, it is very difficult for an organization to do a realistic plan for anything without help.
Maciavelli wrote that, "A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it."

When purchasing consulting advise on processes it is not in your best interest to choose a vendor - because the individuals from a single vendor MUST give you advise in a way that is specifically favorable to that vendor. In the case of SAM, that's rather like having the fox guard the hen house.

When purchasing consulting advise on product implementation if is not in your best interest to choose the vendor. All software implementation consultants need you to buy the product - else they have nothing to work on. But, Vendor consulting staff have a built-in conflict with your interests.

Since the vendor consultants are part of the vendor organization their interests are not in your real success. Rather, they are interested in the success of the software. As long as the software performs as promised, they have met their obligations. When it gets right down to it they are perfectly willing to go with the idea that the operation was a success, but the patient died.

Smart clients hire independent consulting to help them develop a vision and a realistic plan, based upon the client's needs - after some real education and discussion - instead of just implementing software.